At times students need a break from the ‘daily grind’ in order to return stronger, energized and more focused. Through student retreats our youth deepen their relationships with God, begin to grasp their personal spirituality and gain lifelong friendships. We provide one day and overnight retreats for every grade level. Student Retreat Team members plan and lead all retreats in conjunction with alumni, faculty members, our Chaplain and Campus Ministers.
Freshman Focus Day
Freshman Focus Day occurs in August each year at Dan Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo. This is a day of community building activities offering the freshmen the opportunity to get to know one another and establish their identity as a class. The day begins and ends with prayer. Lunch and snacks are prepared by parents.
Sophomore Focus Day
Sophomore Focus Day occurs in January each year at Dan Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo. The theme for the day is, “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” In religion classes students identify the behaviors that they desire from others and those behaviors that cause tension and division among class members. More discussion and simulation activities occur on the Focus Day. The result is that students have a better appreciation for others, focusing upon the things they have in common rather than on what separates them. They learn to discard judgmental thoughts as soon as they enter their minds. Prayer is woven throughout the day’s activities.
Junior Immersion Day
Each Junior Religion class spends a day among the people of San Francisco’s “Tenderloin” with the St. Anthony Foundation in January or February. Some students will serve in the dining room or in local adult day care facilities, delivering meals with the Salvation Army to the home bound in the single room occupancy hotels (SROs), or organizing donations for the clothing store. They receive an overview of the issues facing people who live in the Tenderloin and are given a presentation from one of the clients in the St. Anthony rehabilitation program. Class time is utilized to prepare and debrief students before and after the day of service learning. Five parent volunteers are needed for each of the five immersion trips to the Tenderloin.
Senior Focus Day
Senior Focus Day occurs in April each year at Dan Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo. This day is geared toward having fun with classmates, recalling memories, renewing bonds and preparing to make the most of the days left of high school. We encourage seniors not to rush through these last days together and to reconcile with those with whom they have grown distant. The day begins and ends with prayer. Students are responsible for their own transportation to Dan Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo.
Alpha (Beginning) Retreat is the first retreat, in a series of three, that students may attend at SPSV. It is open to all students (freshmen-seniors). It is a two day, one night retreat focusing on the personal history of each student, the choices made each day that lead us to or away from God and others, and God’s desire for them. Students share experiences and beliefs, participate in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and engage in many community building activities. Student-led prayers occur throughout the retreat. Student retreat leaders facilitate the retreat in tandem with adult leaders. The beautiful redwoods of CYO Retreat Center in Occidental provide an ideal backdrop for our retreats.
The Christos Retreat is the second in our series of retreats and occurs over three days and two nights. This retreat is open to any student who has gone on an Alpha Retreat in a previous year. Its focus is on the student’s maturing relationship with Christ. Though there are still plenty of ice breakers and community builders, there is much more individual reflection time and focus on scripture in this second retreat. There are opportunities for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Student leaders plan and facilitate all the activities and prayers. Participants also help plan the prayer services. Adult leaders are present in small groups to aid the student leaders when called upon. The beautiful redwoods of CYO Retreat Center in Occidental provide an ideal backdrop for our retreats.
The Pneuma (“Spirit”) Retreat is the retreat in our series. Students who have gone on both Alpha and Christos may attend. It is offered every other year. Like Christos, it is three days and two nights long. Our focus is upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells in us, but often we do not live as if this were true. The love, power and joy that is to be found in living with the Spirit is central to this retreat. By cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we are led to share the gifts God has given us. We want juniors and seniors to acknowledge their responsibility to share themselves with a very needy and uncertain world. True happiness is found as we discover what Christ has done for us and then in turn give ourselves for others. Opportunities for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist are offered. The beautiful redwoods of CYO Retreat Center in Occidental provide an ideal backdrop for our retreats.